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Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo Hosts Launch of HBCU CHIPS Network to Build a Skilled and Diverse Workforce in Producing Semiconductors

Network Expected to Provide Access and Opportunity for Black Americans

Coinciding with Black History Month, Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo hosted the launch of the HBCU CHIPS Network yesterday, a collaboration between several Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and the Georgia Institute of Technology. This collaboration will help coordinate the resources of these colleges and universities and build a skilled and diverse workforce in producing chips—also known as semiconductors. Chips are critical in powering our consumer electronics, automobiles, data centers, critical infrastructure, and virtually all military systems.

Two years ago, President Biden signed the bipartisan CHIPS and Science Act, a historic $50 billion funding opportunity to revitalize America’s domestic semiconductor industry and create hundreds of thousands of good jobs. Through the Commerce Department’s CHIPS for America program, recipients of this funding must demonstrate how their project will advance the Nation’s economic security alongside worker and community investments, including opportunities for small businesses and disadvantaged communities.
In 2023, Secretary Raimondo called on colleges and universities to triple the number of graduates in semiconductor-related fields. However, a labor shortage remains in this critical industry. Today's industry estimates show there will be a shortage of 300,000 engineers and 90,000 technical workers by 2030.

The U.S. has 101 accredited public and private HBCUs in 19 states, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. HBCUs award 24% of all bachelor’s degrees in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields. The HBCU CHIPS Network is expected to provide opportunities to historically underserved students and communities and expand the geographic and institutional diversity of research institutions and the students and researchers they serve.  

“With the launch of the HBCU CHIPS Network – working in conjunction with Georgia Tech – they are going to help ensure we have the talent and innovation we need while also bridging gaps in access and opportunity for Black Americans,” said Secretary Raimondo. “I want you to keep thinking about how your HBCUs can work together with private companies to ensure graduates are ready to start working on day one.”

Last year, the Biden-Harris Administration announced the CHIPS for America funding opportunity for smaller supply chain projects and businesses to access CHIPS for America funds. As part of President Biden’s Investing in America agenda, the bipartisan CHIPS and Science Act includes incentives to strengthen supply chains, support smaller projects and businesses, and create good-paying jobs in local communities nationwide.